Apr 5, 2019

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Arthritic Sun Bear at San Diego Zoo

In case anyone missed our recent news release, we wanted to share an exciting story about a sun bear named Francis.  Francis is a 21-year-old resident of the world-famous San Diego Zoo.  Several years ago, he was diagnosed with arthritis in his ankle, for which he has been receiving treatment to keep him comfortable.  Last Spring, however, Francis began showing signs of arthritis in additional joints, so a CT scan was performed.  The results revealed that he had arthritis in several joints, the worst of which was in his hips and elbows.  Though he was prescribed additional pain medications, San Diego Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Deena Brenner felt additional treatment was needed.  That’s where we come in.

VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been used to treat over 14,000 patients for a variety of ailments including arthritis and soft tissue injuries.  The Zoo reached out to VetStem to inquire about stem cell therapy for the sun bear, after which Francis underwent a fat sample collection just like our dogs, cats, and horses do.  His fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory to create injectable stem cell doses of Francis’ own stem and regenerative cells.  And in September 2018, with the assistance of local San Diego veterinary surgeon, Dr. Holly Mullen, Francis received stem cell injections into his arthritic joints and also intravenously.

According to the article that came out in the March 2019 issue of ZooNooz, three keepers evaluated Francis before and after he received VetStem Cell Therapy and found that his symptoms were reduced and he was climbing more!  VetStem received follow-up evaluations at 60- and 90-days post stem cell therapy and he reportedly continued to do well.

We feel very fortunate and proud to be able to help special creatures like Francis.  While stem cell therapy for zoo animals is not yet widely practiced, success stories like this may lead to broader applications of the therapeutic modality for all animals.

Francis

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